This is my take on the short scene from "Catch Me If You Can" in which an FBI agent tracks a counterfeiter, only to find out it was not who he was expecting.
This project was an assignment for a Studio Production class at the University of Texas at Austin: Find a 3-5 min long scene, completely build and light the set in the studio, audition and hire outside actors, and direct a crew of 30 people utilizing three cameras and live switching. (This class is sometimes nicknamed "the sitcom class" for the three camera style).
(full write up below after photos)
Click to enlarge photos.
This was an awesome project and I loved the class setup. Each group of four was given the core jobs on one production (director, producer, associate director, and editor/technical director) and had to find an existing short scene to put their own spin on. We then had to design, build, and light a set completely from scratch in the studio, audition and hire outside actors, and shoot the project using a multi camera set up and live switching (similar method to late night talk shows). Our crew for the project was the rest of our class. My group was the first to go, so after this project we acted as crew on all of our classmates' projects. Our whole class became very close by the end of the semester.
This was by far the smoothest shoot I've ever had happen and the core group on this one was the best communication I've ever had with a crew- we were all on the same page and everyone voiced their ideas. What we came up with is something I'm incredibly proud of. I would easily work with anyone on this project again- cast and crew. (Thank you to all of you!)
After we settled on a script, we started playing around with ways to make it different from the original movie. We knew that it would be hard to match the Tom Hanks/Leonardo Di Caprio duo of the original movie, so we made a few changes. We changed the counterfeiter character to a woman, but kept the male-sounding name (the idea being that the FBI agent wouldn't expect to see a woman counterfeiter and thereby be easier for her to trick and escape), updated the time period a bit (mostly because the typewriter we found was from the late 70s/early 80s), and set the scene in a dingy New York motel room. We felt that these changes put a fresh perspective on the scene and wouldn't have too many people comparing us to the original.
Through casting we found two wonderful actors who both brought their own ideas to the table and worked extremely well together. Designing and building the set went smoothly as well. Originally we wanted wallpaper for the walls, but it was too expensive to rush ship it (first group of the semester meant we had less than 2 weeks of pre-production time), so we went wit two-toned painted walls for a similar effect. One of the funniest parts of pre-production was getting weapons clearance from the RTF department to use the prop gun, which happens to be a water gun I bought for about $5 back in high school (that water gun has made appearances in many of my short films!).
The actual shoot was AMAZING! It was the smoothest shoot I've ever been a part of, and we finished an hour ahead of schedule. A couple run throughs with the actors, cameras, and live switching. Break for dinner. Then three takes. It was golden!
Pabs did an excellent final edit, Skyla was fanatic as an AD, and James was the best producer I've ever worked with. The entire cast and crew were awesome!